BDS in the tourism

Palestine Update 211
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BDS in the tourism
In an important intervention that invokes the question of human rights in tourism, Amnesty International is currently campaigning against four major tourism booking websites to stop business operations within Israel’s illegal settlements. Amnesty contends that the settlements are profiting from what they describe as ‘war crimes’. By extension, tourism that uses settlements as a base are criminal and illegal.

In this issue of Palestine Updates, we share with you information and background about the Amnesty campaign from its own sources. Materials include details of the call to boycott Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor. Amnesty is focused on exposing the illegal situation and the resultant human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Each of the companies being targeted list numerous hotels, B&Bs, attractions or tours in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in direct contravention of international humanitarian law under which Israeli settlements are deemed illegal. Amnesty observes that any form of business with settlement enterprises is illegal because it profits from, the establishment and maintenance of illegal settlements. They must, in their view, be deemed as war crimes, which block the exercise of human rights law. By advertising and bringing profits to settlement businesses, they create the effect of “normalizing”, and legitimizing to the public what is recognized under international law as an illegal situation. Amnesty’s study “Destination: Occupation” also shows how digital tourism and illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories fail human rights standards and the obligations of corporate accountability.

We urge our readers to study and adopt a position and to disseminate this information within your networks and for wider awareness.  We also ask that we all join this call to action by signing up and calling on others to also join the campaign so that Israel stands exposed and those who are transformed through the awareness also boycott the four companies in question.Join the campaign and show your solidarity.In solidarity

Ranjan Solomon


 A boycott campaign against Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor
Amnesty International has urged four major tourism booking websites to stop offering hotels and attractions within Israel’s West Bank Settlements, saying they are profiting from war crimes. Amnesty called out Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor in a boycott campaign, stating that by continuing to list properties and attractions within Israeli settlements of Palestine they are supporting human rights abuses. “In doing business with settlements, all four companies are contributing to, and profiting from, the maintenance, development and expansion of illegal settlements, which amount to war crimes under international criminal law,” Amnesty International said in its report Destination: Occupation.

The organization also said advertising the West Bank Settlements as tourism destinations legitimizes to the public “what is recognized under international law as an illegal situation.” The area in question was captured by Israel from Jordan during the Six Day War, the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. Currently, some 400,000 Israeli settlers occupy the land, an action much of the international community sees as hindering the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

The campaign by Amnesty International to force the companies to stop doing business in the settlements was quickly condemned as “anti-Semitic” by members of the Israeli government. “.@amnesty has become a leader in the anti-Semitic #BDS campaign. The report it will release tonight on #Israel is an outrageous attempt to distort facts, deny Jewish heritage & delegitimize Israel,” Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Twitter.  NGO Monitor, the Israel-based and Israel-pro NGO watchdog, attacked Amnesty International with an eight-tweet thread charging it with anti-Semitism. “In conclusion, it’s clear that @amnesty’s campaign is just another #antisemitic attempt to deny #Jewish history and to single out #Israel,” the organization said in a tweet.

World Jewish Council CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said that if Amnesty International wants to become involved in the Israeli-Palestine conflict, it shouldn’t attack businesses that strive to create peace through tourism, but focus on the human rights violations cause by the settlements. “The World Jewish Congress stands ready and willing to engage with Amnesty International and work together against the real human rights abuses and abusers threatening our world today, and to ensure that the price of unbridled hatred is never forgotten,” Singer said in a media release.

Amnesty International said TripAdvisor is the main target of this boycott campaign due to its “relative importance to the tourism industry in Israeli settlements.” With at least 70 listings in 27 settlements, TripAdvisor does more business there than any other tourism company, the NGO said.

BDS refers to a Palestinian-led movement encouraging the boycott, divestment and sanctions of countries and companies that support Israel’s claim to the contested area.

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By listing properties and attractions in Israeli settlements, digital tourism companies are profiting from war crimes

Digital companies are revolutionizing how the world does tourism. Corporations like Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor, which dominate the multi-billion-dollar global online tourism industry, have become hugely successful. These companies all also list numerous hotels, B&Bs, attractions or tours in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). They are doing so despite knowing that Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law, and a war crime.

These companies also know that Israeli settlements have a negative impact on a vast number of human rights of the Palestinian population. This has been extensively documented by the United Nations and independent international organizations, including Amnesty International and many Palestinian and Israeli organizations.  Any basic preliminary risk assessment by the companies would reveal that any business activity in or with settlements would unavoidably contribute to sustaining an illegal situation, as well as a regime that is inherently discriminatory and abusive of the human rights of Palestinians.

All four companies claim to operate under high ethical values and respect for the rule of law. However, none of these standards appears to influence the companies’ decisions in relation to settlement listings. In doing business with settlements, all four companies are contributing to, and profiting from, the maintenance, development and expansion of illegal settlements, which amount to war crimes under international criminal law. Their promotion of Israeli settlements in the OPT as a tourist destination also has the effect of “normalizing”, and legitimizing to the public what is recognized under international law as an illegal situation.

Also view video

Destination-Occupation
In a new report, Destination: Occupation, Amnesty International documents the ways in which digital tourism companies contribute to violations of human rights and act in direct contradiction with their own corporate standards. Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories: Destination: Occupation digital tourism and Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

In this report, Amnesty International exposes how four leading online tourism companies and global brands – TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia and Airbnb are listing places to stay or things to do in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They are promoting these listings, and profiting from them, despite knowing that these Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and are at the root of a wide range of human rights violations suffered by Palestinian communities. Amnesty International is calling on these companies to stop providing these listings, and on governments around the world to take regulatory action to prevent companies such as these from doing business in or with Israel’s illegal settlements. Download PDF

“I did the Counter Terrorism Weapons Training Course. It was the highlight of my time in Israel!”
TripAdvisor review from a shooting activity, situated in an illegal Israeli settlement

Learn to shoot like a soldier, ride a camel or take a tour of historic sites – all on stolen land! Thanks to help from TripAdvisor, these are all activities you can do when visiting one of the many illegal Israeli settlements.

TripAdvisor lists more than 70 different properties, activities and attractions in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). By doing so, TripAdvisor is boosting the settlement economy and contributing to settlement expansion. The company’s promotion of settlements as a tourist destination helps to “normalize” and legitimize them to the public. Settlements are illegal under international law – their creation amounts to a war crime. Settlements are on stolen Palestinian land. They should not be tourist destinations.

Since 1967, when Israel captured and occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Israeli government has promoted the creation and expansion of settlements. Settlements have a devastating impact on a wide range of human rights of the Palestinian people, including their rights to an adequate standard of living, to housing, to health, to freedom of movement and to education. The existence of settlements also cripples the Palestinian economy. In driving tourism to the settlements, TripAdvisor is contributing to these human rights violations.

Ask Stephen Kaufer, CEO of TripAdvisor Inc. to stop listing or promoting properties, activities and attractions located in illegal Israeli settlements or run by settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

(The entireties of these materials above are sources from Amnesty International)

Don’t befriend me for a day, and leave me a month. Don’t get close to me if you’re going to leave. Don’t say what you don’t do. Be close or get away.

 لا تصاحبني يوماً .. لتهجرني شهراً ولا تقربني .. لتبعدني .. لا تقل ما لا تفعل كُن قريباً .. أو ابتعد.

Mahmoud Darwish.